Monday, September 21, 2009

News of Obama Administration's Use of NEA and Your Tax Dollars to Co-Opt Art Community Into Propaganda Machine Breaks Big [UPDATED]

Big Hollywood has the story:
On August 25th 2009, Big Hollywood’s Patrick Courrielche broke the story of a conference call he attended with other “rising artist and art community luminaries”:
On Thursday August 6th, I was invited by the National Endowment for the Arts to attend a conference call scheduled for Monday August 10th hosted by the NEA, the White House Office of Public Engagement, and United We Serve. The call would include “a group of artists, producers, promoters, organizers, influencers, marketers, taste-makers, leaders or just plain cool people to join together and work together to promote a more civically engaged America and celebrate how the arts can be used for a positive change!”
The email invite came directly from Yosi Sergant, then-Director of Communications at the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and it advised this hand-picked group that the call was about laying “a new foundation for growth, focusing on core areas of the recovery agenda – health care, energy and environment, safety and security, education, community renewal.

Within 48 hours of this phone call, 21 arts organizations
endorsed President Obama’s health-care reform plan. Within days, Rock the Vote started an all out blitz that included a “health care design contest.”

On September 6th, columnist George Will brought the story into the mainstream media when, on “This Week,” he wondered aloud just how many laws the August 10th conference call had broken.

On September 10th, the Washington Times followed the money trail and published the explosive news that of the 21 arts organizations who endorsed President Obama’s health care reform plan…

September 10th was a rough day for the NEA. The same day the troubling money trail was revealed,
Yosi Sergant was “reassigned.” The NEA has yet to explain why Sergant was “reassigned.” ...

[Read the whole thing]
Big Hollywood promises even more explosive revelations at Noon today.

Ed Morrissey has more details, including the additional new revelations mentioned above:
The White House has tried to campaign hard for its health-care overhaul, but now allegations have arisen that the Obama administration abused its power by pushing the National Endowment for the Arts into campaigning for it as well. Andrew Breitbart’s Big Hollywood publishes today the transcript of a conference call hosted by the NEA in which they push grant recipients to speak out on behalf of Obama’s top domestic-policy agenda item. If true, the White House may have substantiated one of the arguments conservatives use for the abolition of the NEA as well as abused its power — and they have the audio to prove it...

The NEA supposedly is “dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts, both new and established; bringing the arts to all Americans; and providing leadership in arts education,” according to
its website. It has nothing at all to do with health care, tax policy, or the environment. Nor should it; if it belongs in government at all, it should restrict itself to its area of expertise, not abuse taxpayer patronage by becoming a propaganda arm of the current administration.

Does this break the law? That’s questionable, but it certainly breaks the trust of the American taxpayer. We do not fund the NEA for it to produce Leni Riefenstahl-type art. If the NEA wants to go into policy activism, then it should become a private foundation with private funding, and Congress should cut it loose.

The NEA was bad enough when it was using tax dollars to fund such memorable art as placing a crucifix in a jar of urine. Congress should completely defund the NEA at this juncture and tell the Obama administration to end its attempts to build propaganda machines in the executive branch.


Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
National Endowment for the Arts Recruiting Artists to Create Propaganda on Behalf of Obama Administration? [UPDATED]

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